Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cakelove? Cakeporn!

Warren Brown's cookbook Cakelove might more aptly be retitled Cakeporn. The pictures, in full sumptuous color, of plump spongy cakes loaded with wet fluffy frosting make you want to run to the store and hunt down some of the more obscure ingredients his recipes require, like potato starch and cocoa nibs.

After making this lemon cake and a chocolate pound cake, I've noticed that his cake aesthetic and mine are a bit different. His cakes tend to be airy, and delicate, more a vehicle for his frostings, which also tend to be light and smooth as opposed to a dense traditional American buttercream. In fact, in almost all his cakes, you're expected to split the layers, which are already fairly thin, to create additional layers of frosting in each bite.

My problem with this is that his cakes are already so light that in each bite of cake, the "sponge," as Brown calls it, seems to melt into the frosting, which I found was the case with the lemon cake above. I'm curious to go to one of Brown's bakeries someday and see if I'm making the recipes in the wrong way or if this is just his aesthetic.

Yet I still love his book, not just for the pictures, but also because Brown illustrates a number of easy-to-follow techniques, which has given me added confidence in tackling cake baking.

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